'Is there anything worse than stealing Grandma's money?'
As baby boomers age,
The names and the details change, but the heartache remains when a son, daughter or other family member financially exploits, physically abuses or neglects an elderly or otherwise vulnerable relative.
Oftentimes, the victim is too ashamed to report the crime. Sometimes the victim is too incapacitated to report it.
As the population ages, an explosion of such cases is likely, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said Tuesday in announcing the creation of an elder abuse unit to prosecute crimes against people who are victimized because of their age, vulnerabilities or family relationships.
Some recent examples:
• Lorraine Clark is legally blind and had her eldest son's name put on her checks so he could pay her bills. She didn't learn that Scott Clark was using her money for other things until her phone was disconnected, her medical insurance canceled and her Meals on Wheels stopped coming. Scott Clark, 53, is scheduled to be sentenced for felony theft Jan. 14. He must pay restitution of more than $45,000.
• Lisa Allred's mother gave her power of attorney to pay her nursing home bills after a series of strokes in 2007. Instead, Allred, 48, is accused of bilking her mother of almost $22,000. Her case is pending in Ramsey County District Court.